The Yellow Wallpaper Character Analysis
Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” may be seen as a feminist strive but the story also shows us a taste on how mental illnesses were regarded during that time. In her story, the author writes about a mother who is descending into madness through the clever method of journal entries. At first glance, readers see the many underlying tones that make up this enriching story such as the role of husband and wife and the how women view themselves. “Her gripping tale of a new mother's descent into madness brought to light the inequity between men and women within the family and the overwhelming nature of Victorian social norms for womanhood.” [i] However Gilman’s focus of the woman psyche is strengthened by her stylistic and clever control over character. Her characters in the story (the mother, the husband, his sister and even the woman in the wallpaper) are all used to depict how they’re efforts, although righteous in intent, aid her fall into insanity.
First of all, Gilman writes in manner that clearly shows how is trying call out to other women in her time by not naming the mother where as she gives clear names to the rest of her family. This might explain how she feels connected to the woman and how she attempts to establish the same connection with other readers, even men who might ponder about their own wives. The nameless mother serves as an “ insert image here” pawn that can represent every woman of that time. “While it would have been easy to have her name enter the story through a secondary character, it never does. This purposeful omission suggests that the story could have happened to any woman. It adds to the strength of Gilman’s feminist message.”[ii]
The mother’s role in the story was to shine light on the importance of how women regarded their own mental health as well. Gilman symbolizes the mother’s view of the house and her husband’s diagnosis of her illness to conflict. The mother understands...